Democrats Expect In-Person Convention, Party Chairman Says

ATLANTA—Democratic Party chairman Tom Perez said Thursday that he expects to hold an in-person convention in Milwaukee to nominate Joe Biden for president, though he didnt rule out the potential that portions of the event would be conducted virtually.

The convention is slated for the week of Aug. 17, but precise dates remain up in the air after Perez and party officials scrapped their original July 13-16 plans amid the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus pandemic.

“We expect to hold an in-person convention in Milwaukee. We are planning for that,” Perez told reporters on a telephone call. “At the same time, we do not put our public health heads in the sand. We dont do that right now. We wont do that in the run-up.”

Perez said hes optimistic about forecasts he said suggest COVID-19 could begin a downward slope in Wisconsin later this spring.

“We moved the convention back five or six weeks so that we can have more time” to decide, Perez said. “Wisconsin right now is in the throes of the pandemic. What many experts tell us is that they expect it to improve beginning in May. We will monitor the situation on the ground.”

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers, a Democrat, recently extended his states stay-at-home order until May 26. He also released a three-phase plan to reopen the states economy, building off recommendations from the White House and federal officials. But the plan does not specifically address the convention or other large gatherings.

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers holds a press conference in Madison,
Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers holds a press conference in Madison,
Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers holds a press conference in Madison, Wis., on Feb. 6, 2020. (Steve Apps/Wisconsin State Journal/AP)

Biden, for his part, has been more circumspect than Perez in recent public statements, stating that the convention may have to be entirely virtual. One of Perezs predecessors as party chairman, Terry McAuliffe, also recently predicted a virtual convention.

Democratic National Committee staff based in Milwaukee have spent weeks working with the areas hospitality industry and other vendors to map out various contingencies. Some Democrats have floated the possibility of a limited number of party officials and delegates gathering to conduct business, while the full slate of about 4,700 delegates could still meet virtually. In that scenario, Biden and his yet-to-be-named running mate could still deliver acceptance addresses geared for broadcast but with a controlled live audience.

The Biden campaign declined to comment on Perezs remarks.

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